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Borders Political Parties War and Conflict

Confused and Confusing: The PM’s Official Statements About 15 June

The Indian government has a near perfect ground game in terms of messaging domestically on matters related to Pakistan and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. And yet, ever since the standoffs with China began in early May, the government’s communications have been limited, confused, and confusing.

This is not to say that India’s military responses to either Pakistani or Chinese provocations – based on such information as is available in the open domain – has been wanting. In the case of the former, one could argue that even such an incident as Balakot where India attacked Pakistani territory, was calibrated well given that it did not lead to escalation. In the case of the Galwan Valley incident of 15 June, too, the official statement on the Prime Minister’s remarks at the All Party Meeting on 19 June quotes him saying, “that twenty of our brave soldiers made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in Ladakh but also taught a lesson to those who had dared to look towards our motherland”.[1] This suggests that the Indians at least gave as good as they got. The Chinese, too, seemed to acknowledge casualties on their side.[2] In dealing with a power like China with its superior military capabilities, that is as good as one can expect, and even something of a victory for India.

However, the question here for the Indian government is of communicating its position and version of events accurately both at home and abroad. The 19 June statement shows the Prime Minister prefacing his reference to the deaths of the soldiers by saying “that neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured”.[3] In reality, this obscured more than it clarified. While the present tense suggested that he could technically be accurate insofar as the situation at the moment of his speaking was concerned, the Hindi version – ““न तो किसी ने हमारी सीमा में प्रवेश किया है, न ही किसी भी पोस्ट पर कब्जा किया गया है” na to kisi ne hamari seema main pravesh kiya hain, na hi kisi bhi post par kabza kiya gaya hain[4] – appeared to make a somewhat larger claim covering the entire period since confrontations started in May that neither had anyone entered Indian territory nor capturedany Indian posts.

Categories
Borders Comparative Politics Foreign Policy Sub-nationalism War and Conflict

Sino-Indian Boundary Dispute: Provinces/States as Ice-Breakers

Original Article: Jabin T. Jacob, “The Sino-Indian Boundary Dispute: Sub-National Units as Ice-Breakers,” Eurasia Border Review (Hokkaido University, Japan), Vol. 2, No. 1, Summer 2011, pp.35-45.

Abstract: Despite being among the fastest growing world economies, interactions between China and India remain limited owing to their unresolved boundary dispute. Tensions have grown over rapid military and infrastructure development by both countries along the disputed boundary but these developments can also be used as opportunities to encourage development in the relatively poor and underdeveloped provinces and countries along their disputed boundary. In this context, it is important to also understand domestic socioeconomic and political developments taking place in these border provinces how they might shape the future contours of the Sino-Indian boundary dispute and relations.

Given that in both China and India, years of prioritizing national security considerations over political accommodation and economic development in their provinces have not really led to the fulfillment of any national security objectives, the time has come to examine if prioritizing the latter set of considerations to the benefit of their border provinces can ensure peace and stability between China and India. The solution to both the political and economic discontent of Chinese and Indian provinces as well as the unresolved boundary dispute between the two countries could be to allow their provinces greater freedom to interact with each other in terms of people-to-people and economic contacts.

Read the full article here.